Janet Harvey Kelman (April 18, 1873 – November 15, 1957), a Scottish illustrator and author, created many children’s books about nature, including Butterflies and Moths (1910) which was part of the “Shown to the Children” book series. To date, I have not been able to locate a biography of Kelman, despite her authoring and illustrating more than 30 books according to WorldCat, but I was able to locate her family’s grave in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her brother was Rev. John Kelman (1864-1929), a United Free Church of Scotland minister who was also a published author. In 1923, Kelman published Labour in India: a study of the conditions of Indian women in modern industry based on 16 months that she spend in India funded by a Research Fellowship from Selly Oak Colleges. In addition to her natural history works, she published books about Christianity.
Rev. Theodore Wood (1862-1923) described the species for each of Kelman’s illustrations using only the common name and in a writing style meant for the juvenile reader. His father, Rev. John George Wood (1827-1889), was a popular author of Victorian natural history books.
Butterflies and Moths is written in a popular style, rather than scientific, but as an historical natural history work with intricately detailed illustrations, it contributes to a larger picture of the evolution of teaching science and how scientific understanding was communicated across large swaths of the population.
Published Works & References
- Butterflies and Moths: Shown to the Children (1910), digitized by Cornell University Library for Biodiversity Heritage Library.
- Janet Harvey Kelman in BHL.
- Janet Harvey Kelman in WorldCat.
- Janet Harvey Kelman in Internet Archive.
- Flickr album of illustrations from BHL.
- BHL Blog Post featuring artwork and quotations from Butterflies and Moths.